Agra Travel Guide
Near or at the top for many visitors to India, Agra is home to the world-famous Taj Mahal.
That isn’t all, though – its palaces, mosques, and gardens will have you lingering longer than planned.
Set aside a minimum of four days for this essential destination.
Come check out our Agra travel guide as we cover the best things to do in Agra, India.
If you’ve travelled to Agra, it’s for one primary reason – to see the Taj Mahal. One of the new seven wonders of the world, this magnificent structure is a mausoleum. Mughal emperor Shah Jahan commissioned its construction to give his late wife, Mumtaz Mahal, a glorious place to rest for eternity.
When Emperor Shah Jahan passed, he joined his love in this white marble masterpiece. In 1983, UNESCO named the Taj Mahal to its list of World Heritage Sites. As one of the best examples of Indo-Islamic architecture in India, its inclusion was never in doubt.
When planning your trip to Agra to see the Taj Mahal, keep some practicalities in mind. Two million people visit every year – take care to avoid weekends and holidays. Also, most visitors come between October to February, when temperatures are at their most comfortable. Highs from April-June soar above 40 degrees – if you visit then, go first thing in the morning.
The Taj Mahal isn’t the only thing to see in Agra – across from it lies the Agra Fort. More of a walled city, it served as home to the Mughal emperors when Agra was the capital. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as its three-kilometre walls, cultural significance, and commanding architecture make it a standout.
Its courtyards, red sandstone pillars, and intricate detail work will captivate you. Like the Taj Mahal, though, its scope is vast, so limit your exposure to midday heat by visiting it in the morning.
The Taj Mahal isn’t the only mausoleum in Agra. If you aren’t on a tight schedule, check out the Tomb of I’timad-ud-Daulah as well. Built alongside the Taj Mahal, rumours suggest it was a test draft for the Taj.
Built by one of the wives of Emperor Jahan for her late father, this place is far more peaceful. Its white marble surfaces, murals, and water works will make you glad you took the time to visit.
The main attractions of Agra centre around the Mughal royal family – however, you can also find Gurudwara Guru Ka Taal, a significant Sikh temple. Dedicated to Sri Guru Tegh Bahudar Ji, the ninth Guru of Sikhism, it is popular among pilgrims.
Built where the Mughal emperor arrested Guru Bahudar, Sikhs come here to honour his martyrdom. Filled with positive vibes, it is a pleasant place to visit. Come back at night, when the whole complex is lit up with many colours.
Do you want to get an iconic shot of the Taj Mahal? Of course, you do – head over to the Mehtab Bagh to get it. A garden sitting across the Yamuna River, many photographers set up here to get that photo of the Taj.
Air pollution will affect the quality of the photo you get – as such, your mileage may vary. Wet season means better clarity, but the grounds also flood. Finally, enjoy the gardens before leaving – Mughal authorities designed this space to work in concert with the view of the Taj Mahal.
Take in the most prominent religious site in Agra by visiting the Jawab Masjid. Among the largest mosques in India, there is room for thousands of worshippers, who flood in for Friday prayers. Its Mughal-era architecture makes this space special – take lots of photos, but take care to also show respect.
Agra is home to a number of interesting religious sects. If this interests you, make time to check out the Dayal Bagh community during your time here. Founded on the principles of equality for all, they worked hard in the 1910s to make their land fertile.
From that point, they’ve managed to maintain a stable farming commune based on socialist principles. People take turns tending the fields, cleaning, and working night security. Their temple is worth seeing on its own, but take time to deep-dive into their fascinating daily lives.
As the world’s most populous nation, India is a place where wildlife is under severe stress. A non-profit known as Wildlife SOS began in Agra decades ago to help reverse the damage. They are most famous for their work in rescuing sloth bears from roadside circuses. However, they have also turned their attention to assisting elephants and leopards as well. These guys are the real deal, not a sham conservation project, so visit if you have the time.